(Folsom, Ca.) Members of the highbush (cultivated) blueberry industry are now seeking nominees to fill U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) state member and alternate positions for the 2020 to 2022 term. The nomination period will begin on March 11, 2019. Eight USHBC state member and alternate seats need to be filled for the term of office beginning January 1, 2020. Eligible producer nominees are those who produced 2,000 pounds or more of highbush blueberries in the United States during the period of January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.
Nominations for seven state positions representing California, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington will be completed by their respective state blueberry councils and commissions.
Nominations are to be received directly from growers in Florida. Potential nominees are required to complete a USHBC nomination application and forward their application on to the USHBC office by no later than April 15, 2019. Nomination applications will be mailed directly to Florida growers. Applications are also available on line at the USHBC website at www.ushbc.org or can be requested by contacting the USHBC office by phone at (916) 983-0111 or by fax at (916) 983-9022. Once the nomination period is closed, a ballot will be prepared listing all nominees. Ballots will then be mailed to growers in Florida on June 10, 2019. The voting period will be open for 35 days and close on July 15, 2019. Those receiving the most votes for each producer seat will be recommended to the Secretary of Agriculture as council members. Those who earn the second most votes for each position will be recommended as the alternate. The names of those who receive the third and fourth most votes will be sent on to the Secretary for consideration as well.
Council members and alternates will serve a term of three years beginning January 1, 2020. Members and alternates can serve for a maximum of two consecutive terms.
The USHBC has adopted a diversity outreach plan to attempt to achieve a diverse representation on the Council. USHBC programs are open to all individuals without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, genetic information, parental status and marital or family status. It is USHBC policy that membership on the Council and its committees reflect the diversity of individuals served by its programs.
To accomplish this objective, the USHBC will strive to attain representation of growers and other industry participants from diverse backgrounds on the Council and USHBC committees. To this end, the USHBC strongly encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to seek nominations to the USHBC and to participate in Council and USHBC committee activities.
Producers and importers of highbush blueberries approved the establishment of the USHBC through a referendum conducted by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service in the year 2000. The USHBC program was formally established in August of 2000. Support of the Council is reconfirmed by the USDA with a continuance referendum every five years to ascertain whether continuance of the Order is favored by producers and importers of blueberries. A referendum was conducted by mail in July of 2016 with 74 percent of those who voted favoring continuation of the order. The program is funded by an assessment of $18 per ton on domestic highbush blueberries and $18 per ton on fresh and processed imported highbush blueberries. Market promotion activities funded through the USHBC program began in January of 2002.